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Sandy Journal

Jordan Swimming has a great outlook for 2016–17 season

Jan 20, 2017 02:53PM ● By Billy Swartzfager

A team photo of the Jordan swimming team for 2016–17. (Mariah Foerster/Resident)

By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]
During a building year, the Jordan Beetdiggers swim team is working on setting new personal bests. That is the goal the coaches, led by Head Coach Richard Barnes, have set for the young and mostly inexperienced team of swimmers.
Barnes, in his second year as head coach at Jordan, led the team, the girls group in particular, to the highest region and state placement for the last several years. Last season, the girls took third in region and sixth in state. The team lost some experience to graduation though, and is working on building a program that focuses on pushing themselves further each time in the pool.
“Our goal as coaches is to help these kids swim faster than they ever have before. Placing at region and qualifying to swim at state would just be icing on the cake,” Barnes said.
The team has obstacles to deal with while pursuing their goals, like any team does, but Jordan faces something a little different than most. The Beetdiggers have no home pool. The team uses two different facilities for practice. Three mornings every week, the team can be found swimming at the Life Centre Athletic Club, and they spend their time after school in the water at Treehouse Athletic Club. The team also hosts its home swim meets in Draper.
“All of the pools we swim in have been great, beyond great, but a pool close to home to use every day would be nice,” Barnes said.
The lack of a home pool and the physical challenges that swimming poses are just two of the reasons Barnes believes his team will be competitive with themselves, leading to competitiveness against other teams.
“Swimming is difficult — you’re actually out there torturing yourself,” Barnes said. “These kids are dedicated; they are willing to work really hard to accomplish their goals.”
This year’s team is led by a number of swimmers, all of whom contribute in various ways, in and out of the water. The girls team is being headed by Gretchen Hyer, a junior, who swims in a lot of events for the Beetdiggers. She holds the school record for the 100-meter butterfly and looks to break her own record. She is one of the more experienced swimmers at Jordan, having swum last year in the state meet. There is also sophomore Gabi Wagner, who ends up in the top 50 in Utah in almost every event she swims in. Haily Wiese is a senior and a team captain who also swam at state last season and holds Jordan’s record for the 500-meter freestyle. Another senior, Tristynn Faris, helps lead the team by encouraging other swimmers and supporting all of those around her.
The boys team is fronted by Ben Stepan, a junior who has a proclivity for distance events, and senior Braden Chapman, who has been on the team for four years and is a great sprint-events swimmer.
The foundation is present for Jordan to build a special program for its swim team. The coaches, two of whom have swum the English Channel and two who have known each other since high school, bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the pool for their young subjects. Bringing that expertise, working on individual bests and constantly encouraging kids to continue to push themselves will lead to better results this year and well into the future.
“We want to put together a great program at Jordan, for Sandy,” Barnes said. “Swimming teaches hard work and shows that kids from all levels can succeed.”
Jordan, whose swimmers work out in the morning and after school in multiple locations, should be able to accomplish their goals for years to come.